Prices continue to be slashed in Miami. After making two trades last week, the Fish have now sent former closer Kevin Gregg to the Chicago Cubs for minor league pitcher Jose Ceda.
The fantasy effects of this trade stretch wide. The reason for this lies in the decision that the Cubs have with the back end of their bullpen.
Frankly, anyone who assumes that Kevin Gregg will be closing games in Chicago is off-base. There is no way that Carlos Marmol does not take over the closing duties for the Cubbies now that Kerry Wood will not return.
Even if Gregg were to start the season as the closer, he won’t last long. Gregg, in his two seasons as a closer, has been inconsistent. In 2008, he went 7-8 with a 3.41 ERA and 29 saves. He struck out 58 in 68.2 innings and had a relatively high WHIP for a closer at 1.28.
Gregg lost his job as the fireman for Florida in late summer after blowing nine saves in 38 chances. That’s not a good conversion ratio. Gregg actually had a 3.79 ERA as a closer, but pitched seven scoreless innings to close the year as a set-up man.
Two bad appearances in August where he gave up eight runs in two innings inflated his ERA. Gregg cannot compete with Carlos Marmol in Chicago. Fantasy baseball owners should stay away from Gregg in 2009 fantasy drafts unless they are in a league that rewards holds.
Marmol, on the other hand, is lights out. He will be a great option as a closer in fantasy drafts in 2009. He went 2-4 with a 2.68 ERA in 82 appearances in 2008. He even recorded seven saves filling in for Kerry Wood. Marmol had a microscopic WHIP of 0.93.
Any pitcher that allows less than one baserunner per inning is simply outstanding. Additionally, he punched out a remarkable 114 batters in 87.1 innings pitchers for a ratio of 11.75 Ks per nine innings.
While he tends to be wild at times (he walked 41 batters and hit six more in 2008), he atones for that wildness with a remarkable ability to keep batters from getting hits. He yielded a mere 40 hits in 2008. That’s 4.1 hits per nine innings and an opponents’ batting average of .135!
All fantasy owners should enter their 2009 drafts treating Marmol as a top-tier closer.
Matt Lindstrom, who took over as closer for Florida in late 2008, is expected to be the opening-day closer for the Marlins. Lindstrom went 3-3 with a 3.14 ERA and 1.448 WHIP in 2008. He struck out 43 batters in 57.1 innings pitched.
When he assumed the closing duties, Lindstrom converted five saves and pitched 8.1 scoreless innings. That is too short a time upon which to base his closing abilities, so Lindstrom enters 2009 as a low-end closer with a decent amount of potential.
Jose Ceda, a 21-year-old minor-league pitcher, is now a member of the Florida Marlins organization as a part of the Kevin Gregg trade. Ceda went 2-2 with a 4.80 ERA in 12 starts with Class-A Daytona.
After a promotion to Double-A Tennessee, Ceda went to the pen and posted a 2.08 ERA and 1.32 WHIP in 22 relief appearances. He went 2-1 with nine saves for Tennessee. Ceda is still probably a year or two away from the majors, so he carries no value into the 2009 fantasy draft.